Anger erupts over Jerusalem move

The Press - - World -

MID­DLE EAST: United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says he is cast­ing aside the ‘‘failed strate­gies of the past’’ by up­end­ing 70 years of US for­eign pol­icy and forg­ing ahead with his con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion to recog­nise Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael.

The pres­i­dent’s an­nounce­ment has been cel­e­brated by Is­rael but met with fury from Pales­tini­ans, who ac­cuse him of de­stroy­ing any hope of a peace deal.

‘‘We can­not solve our prob­lems by mak­ing the same failed as­sump­tions and re­peat­ing the same failed strate­gies of the past,’’ Trump said. ‘‘It is time to of­fi­cially recog­nise Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael.’’

De­fy­ing warn­ings from world lead­ers, Trump said he ‘‘judged this course of ac­tion to be in the best in­ter­est of the US and the pur­suit of peace be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans’’.

He said the US would be­come the only coun­try in the world to move its em­bassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, mak­ing good on a cam­paign prom­ise im­por­tant to many Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian and right-wing Jewish vot­ers.

The Pales­tini­ans in­sist that there can be no peace deal un­less they are able to have East Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of their own in­de­pen­dent state. They say Trump’s uni­lat­eral move has dis­qual­i­fied the US as peace bro­ker.

‘‘These con­demned and un­ac­cept­able mea­sures are a de­lib­er­ate un­der­min­ing of all ef­forts ex­erted to achieve peace, and rep­re­sent a dec­la­ra­tion of the United States’ with­drawal from un­der­tak­ing the role it has played over the past decades in spon­sor­ing the peace process,’’ said Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas.

Pales­tinian mil­i­tant Is­lamist group Ha­mas, which con­trols the Gaza Strip, ac­cused Trump of ‘‘fla­grant ag­gres­sion’’ and called for Mus­lims across the Mid­dle East to rise up against US in­ter­ests. US em­bassies across the Mid­dle East have bol­stered their se­cu­rity ar­range­ments in an­tic­i­pa­tion of po­ten­tially vi­o­lent protests.

The de­ci­sion was hailed by Is­rael, and Jerusalem’s mayor or­dered the US flag to be pro­jected on the walls of the Old City in cel­e­bra­tion.

‘‘This is a his­toric day,’’ said Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu. ‘‘We are pro­foundly grate­ful to the pres­i­dent for his coura­geous and just de­ci­sion.’’

Trump tried to pla­cate Pales­tinian anger by say­ing his de­ci­sion did not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a two-state so­lu­tion, where Jerusalem would be the cap­i­tal of both Is­rael and an in­de­pen­dent Pales­tinian state.

‘‘We are not tak­ing a po­si­tion of any fi­nal sta­tus is­sues, in­clud­ing the spe­cific bound­aries of Is­raeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the res­o­lu­tion of con­tested is­sues,’’ he said. ‘‘The US would sup­port a twostate so­lu­tion if agreed to by both sides.’’ He called ‘‘for calm, for moder­a­tion, and for the voices of tol­er­ance to pre­vail’’.

Bri­tish Prime Theresa May was among world lead­ers who ex­pressed con­cern about the US move. ‘‘We dis­agree with the US de­ci­sion to move its em­bassy to Jerusalem and recog­nise Jerusalem as the Is­raeli cap­i­tal be­fore a fi­nal sta­tus agree­ment. We be­lieve it is un­help­ful in terms of prospects for peace,’’ she said.

Pope Fran­cis said he had ‘‘deep con­cern’’ about the sit­u­a­tion in Jerusalem, and urged Trump not to go ahead with the move.

Re­ac­tion was muted from most of Amer­ica’s Arab al­lies, many of whom have ei­ther of­fi­cial or covert re­la­tion­ships with Is­rael.

But re­ac­tion was fierce from Turkey. Deputy prime min­is­ter Bekir Bozdag warned that Trump was ‘‘plung­ing the re­gion and the world into a fire with no end in sight’’. Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan called for a sum­mit of Mus­lim lead­ers next week in Is­tan­bul.


Peo­ple in the West Bank town of Ra­mal­lah protest US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal.

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